• Tracking Sandy: less wind, more rain for Tuesday


    From FOX 25's Kevin Lemanowicz at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday:

    We remain in the circulation of Sandy today. Hard not to be since the storm spans some 1200 miles across. That 1200 miles has weather ranging from blizzard conditions in West Virginia to cold temperatures in Florida, heavy downpours in New England, and mild temperatures here as well.

    Sandy will continue to weaken to our west, allowing our weather to improve. The whole circulation will be wheeling by us through the middle of the week, so while the sun is out as I write this in Dedham, I know it won't last. There are heavy downpours around, too. That's how the day will be; lots of clouds, breaks of sun, and the risk of a heavy shower or thunderstorm. It is unlikely we'd see any severe thunderstorms, but Sarah will be here this afternoon to watch that.

    The next big forecast for us is Halloween Wednesday evening. Looks dry and cool to me with temperatures near 50.

    The coverage you will see the rest of the week will likely talk much about the Jersey coastline and New York City. It is awful what they have to deal with, but never forget it either. A hurricane will hit us head-on one day and the effect will be devastating. You must get out of the way of these storms. Storm surge is the deadliest part of a storm, and it doesn't have to be tropical to happen. Strong winds can always push water against the coast causing a surge.

    The right angle coastline formed by New Jersey and New York/Connecticut with Manhattan in the middle is a configuration that has been a source of worry by hurricane forecasters for many years, just like New Orleans being below sea-level. The NYC case is that a hurricane coming toward the Jersey coast would have easterly winds through Long Island Sound, pushing that water toward NYC. At the same time, water would be pushed toward the New Jersey coast and up the shore toward NYC. The closer to NYC the center of the storm is, the worse it would be. Both surges have nowhere to go except the point of that right angle that is Manhattan and the Hudson River. It was going to happen someday, and that day has arrived. The only saving grace is that the winds weren't even more powerful. Remember, as big as this storm is, the winds were only category 1 hurricane strength. This could have been much worse, even in NYC.

    From FOX 25's Kevin Lemanowicz at 6 a.m. Tuesday:

    Sandy is no longer being tracked by the National Hurricane Center since she is no longer a tropical system. She transitioned to a huge nor'easter as it came ashore near Atlantic City, NJ Monday night. That means it has the classic front structure we are accustomed to.

    The warm front is past us, so we are having a mild day in much of New England. Cold air is pouring down the back side of Sandy, creating blizzard conditions in the mountains of West Virginia. Snow is mixing in at the low elevations, too. The circulation of the storm once hurricane Sandy is 90 miles west of Philadelphia as of 5am Tuesday. Maximum sustained winds are still 65 mph, which would be tropical storm strength.

    Bands of heavy rain showers, even thunderstorms, continue to roll northward pushed by Sandy's circulation. We'll see those today. Some of those heavy showers could bring gusty winds. There is a wind advisory for gusts up to 40mph. Strong enough, but nothing compared to the 80+mph gusts we saw at the height of Sandy in southern New England.

    Over the next few days, Sandy will likely move north, then northeast. Cold air will take over the center of Sandy, filling her in. Since cold air sinks, the storm will weaken. Our weather will gradually improve along with that weakening.

    There is much damage in New England, and some flooding to deal with. Still, we have it much easier than they will on Long Island, in New York City, and along the Jersey shore after the storm surge brought record flooding.

    From Fox 25's Sarah Wroblewski at 11 p.m. on Monday:

    As of 11 p.m., Sandy is packing a punch with hurricane force winds. Winds are about 75 mph, and Sandy has slowed down a bit.

    Sandy transitioned from a hurricane to a post tropical cyclone. What that really means is that the storms warm tropical core has turned into a cold core and feeds off cold temperatures, rather than the warm ocean temps.

    Basically she is still a powerful storm, but more like a nor'easter that we would see. Heavy rain and strong winds will continue for the Mid-Atlantic, while we will slowly see things improve here. It will still be breezy with some pockets of showers, but the strongest winds occurred earlier today.

    However, the seas are still very angry and high. You combine that with an astronomically high tide (thanks to the full moon on Monday), and we're still anticipating coastal flooding overnight and tomorrow. So we still have a coastal flood warning in effect for the high tide cycles shortly after midnight and again around midday Tuesday.

    From Fox 25's Sarah Wroblewski at 9 p.m. Monday:

    As Sandy approached the New Jersey coast this evening, the National Hurricane Center declared her a post-tropical cyclone. However… maximum sustained winds were 80 mph. Huh? So Sandy… no longer a hurricane but winds are hurricane force?! Yes… We've been talking about the transition Sandy was going to go through for the past week and well… she decided to before landfall. Nonetheless… she is still bringing all sorts of weather to the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast. Although our peak wind gusts have likely occurred….and the majority of our winds will begin to subside overnight… we will still see tropical storm force wind gusts through the night as bands of rain continue. Some of these rain showers may be heavy at times. Not only will we be watching for brief bursts of rain, but we still are at a high risk of moderate to major coastal flooding as we approach high tide along the north and south shore near Midnight. 

    From Fox 25's Sarah Wroblewski at 7 p.m. Monday

    Sandy is no longer a hurricane, it has become a post-tropical storm. It has also made landfall in New Jersey with a life-threatening storm surge. Sustained winds were near 85 mph.

    I'll have another update at about 8:30 p.m.


    From Fox 25's Sarah Wroblewski at 5 p.m. Monday

    No word yet of landfall from the National Hurricane Center, but it sure looks close. As Sandy approaches landfall... we continue to find tropical storm force winds across southern New England. This afternoon we saw gusts of 81mph in Wellfleet, 86 mph in Westerly RI, and many reports in the 50-70 mph range. Once Sandy makes landfall we will see winds die down...somewhat... they will still gust to tropical storm force for the next several hours. In fact, more power outages are likely as trees and branches come down with winds remaining gusty. The coast is still expecting to experience coastal flooding during the height of high tide which is around 8-9PM along the south coast. Westport is expected to see a storm surge over 4 ft with waves ranging 13-16 feet. Along the north and south shores, we'll see high tides shortly after midnight and the threat of coastal flooding and beach erosion.


    From FOX 25's Kevin Lemanowicz at 2 p.m. Monday

    The track of Sandy remains unchanged in direction, however she is really moving much faster. The 11am observation had Sandy moving 18mph, but now she is going 28mph. Going that fast, Sandy will be at Atlantic City, or nearby, by 6pm. That's about 3 hours faster than the National Hurricane Center is currently saying. Winds are blowing harder now than they have all day in southern New England. A gust was measured on a buoy off Cuttyhunk Island of 81mph! Another gust at Lighthouse Beach in Chatham hit hurricane force, 74mph. Flooding has been at least moderate in many locations, like Winthrop, Plymouth, Scituate, and Chatham. There will still be flooding at the 8pm high tide on the south coast west of Buzzards Bay. Westport, especially, will be hard hit. The storm will move inland and begin to weaken tonight. We will likely still have strong winds Tuesday, but not as strong as this afternoon.


    From FOX 25's Kevin Lemanowicz at 5 a.m. Monday

    The latest track from the National Hurricane Center is in this morning and it hasn't changed much at all. Landfall is still expected in southern NJ late tonight. A big change has been the intensification of the storm now expected as it approaches the coast. Sandy is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone (think nor'easter) with winds of 90 mph as she moves northwest.

    The effects here are also unchanged… Coastal flooding is the biggest concern. Strong winds are next. Rainfall is distant third. It is those winds that will drive the storm surge and waves that will cause the flooding. High tides are right here on our weather page. Essentially east-facing shorelines have high tide just before noon and will have flooding then. The south coast outside of Buzzards Bay through the coasts of Rhode Island, CT, and NY will have the worst flooding during the evening high tide leading up to 8pm.

    The winds will also knock out power and blow trees down. 

    The storm will weaken once inland, but slowly. Our weather will still damp and windy for a couple of days.

    All the information is here on our website, but also check in with me all day on FOX 25 for the latest.


    From FOX 25 meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz:

    The 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center keeps the center of the storm aimed at the Jersey shore, with wiggle room to come closer to New York City or even farther south toward Delaware Bay. The winds are stronger if it does jog farther north, less if it goes a little farther south. However, it won't make much difference at this point to southern New England as far as the impacts we've been telling you about.

    Still expect strong tropical storm force winds, 30 to 50 mph sustained with gusts over 70 mph. This will knock down trees and power lines causing widespread power outages.

    Big waves will slam into the coast and there is likely to be major coastal flooding in some areas, particularly the east facing shoreline of Cape Cod and south facing shoreline of much of southern New England, as well as Nantucket. This could be destructive here, though not for everyone. In New York City, it may be a disaster.

    There will be some heavy rain, though that is not the biggest concern with this storm.

    Sandy is still moving northeast, but a turn to the northwest is expected overnight. I'll be here at 4 a.m. to let you know if that is happening.


    From FOX 25 meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz:

    The 8 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center still has Sandy as a category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph. She is still moving to the northeast at 15 mph. The track will not update until 11 p.m., so that stays unchanged.

    Landfall is expected along the New Jersey shoreline likely early Tuesday morning. The storm will not be a hurricane at that point, but will be every bit as strong as one. The hurricane loses its tropical core and becomes a huge nor'easter as it interacts with and ingests the cold air behind a strong cold front. It is that cold air that will make this storm into a blizzard for the mountains of West Virginia.

    We have talked much about this transition in the last week.

    A purely tropical storm would be more compact. This storm has tropical storm force winds out over 800 miles from the center. Translation- we will get tropical storm force winds greater than 39mph. However, hurricane force (greater than 73mph) wind gusts are almost certain to happen in southern New England, especially at the height of the storm and closest pass to us from late Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. Those winds will keep piling the Atlantic Ocean waters up against our coastline.

    Depending on the location, minor to major flooding can be expected, particularly at high tides Monday morning and Monday evening, as well as Tuesday morning. The high tides are right here on our weather page every day.

    Most coastal locations can expect at least minor flooding, though towns tucked inside Buzzards Bay may not that is a function of the wind direction. Places like Mattapoisett and Onset might be alright. However, those just outside of the Bay will not be so lucky. The flooding gets even worse over toward Rhode Island, including Westport.



    Coastal Flooding will be the biggest issue for us with this storm. Waves crashing into the beach may be as high as 20 feet in some places.

    Strong winds will bring down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages, like Irene last year, are likely.

    Rain will be heavy at times, but I do not expect flooding rains from this system here.

    Clearly the issues are different closer to the center of the storm. New York City may end up being the biggest story of all.

    Latest track at 11 p.m I'll update you.


    From FOX 25 meteorologist Jon Bellemore:

    Information from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated no significant changes to the intensity of Sandy. She is still a category1 hurricane with wind speeds of 75 mph. The newest model run came from the NHC came in nearly on top of the previous runs indicating good agreement between model runs. With that being said, we do not believe there to be any changes to the forecast track at this time. Sandy will continue to interact with the cold front and will reach the east coast in the about 48 hours. As Sandy interacts with the cold front, she will lift to the north over the next 24 hours and will eventually make a turn northwest until landfall in about 36 hours. The only small change at this time is that after 24 hours, Sandy will gain a little bit of speed, which pushes the timeline forward slightly.

     Sandy will continue to remain over warm waters of the Gulf Stream which will maintain her category 1 status before making landfall. Her wind field is very large, covering between 750-1000 miles. Hurricane force winds stretch nearly 150 miles of that. Please read the previous discussions for more information.


    More specifics on Sandy's path from the 11 a.m. update:

    As of the 11am update, Sandy continues as a category 1 hurricane with sustained maximum winds of 75mph. She is currently located off the coast of North Carolina and will continue to move parallel to the U.S. coast today and maintain strength. Although no significant changes to the intensity or structure of Sandy are expected, she is traveling over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and holds onto the possibility of intensifying slightly. 

    Sandy is still expected to interact with a large cold front and trough system that will steer her northward over the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, a turn to the west/northwest will occur until sandy finally makes landfall within 48 hours or so. This means that Sandy will turn towards the Mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, and make landfall early Tuesday morning currently somewhere in New Jersey. Even though sandy is expected to weaken before landfall and rapidly weaken immediately after landfall, her effects will not be diminished and will impact a large area. 

    Hurricane force winds extend outward to 175 miles away from the center and tropical storm force winds extend up to 520 miles. This means that even though the track continues to be the south of New England, we will still be impacted by Sandy. We can already see that the wind has picked up in the area and the clouds will stick around with the potential for some light rain/mist from Sandy's outer rain bands. Expect heavy bands of rain starting early Monday continuing through Tuesday. Tropical storm force gusts across the entire state, with the strongest winds anticipated Monday evening and night. Hurricane force wind gusts not out of the question for the Cape and Islands and south coasts. This will likely lead to some downed trees and power outages. Although a life threatening storm surge is expected for the Mid-Atlantic coast, including Long Island Sound and New York Harbor, here in MA, we can expect a 3 to 5 foot storm surge. This will allow for moderate to major coastal flooding, especially during high tide Monday midday and just after Midnight Tuesday morning. Additionally - we are dealing with an astronomical high tide (full moon and high tide) during the hurricane that will raise our threats for coastal flooding and storm surge.

    I encourage you to read what Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz wrote on Saturday.


    (Per Kevin)
    A hurricane in October? Sure! There are a couple, on average, every year. Wait! A hurricane HERE in October. OK, that's a totally different and rare weather event. A hurricane that transitions to a snowstorm? Almost never… until now.

    See, that's why this storm is getting so much publicity. It is a huge storm with tropical storm force winds extending out 450 miles from the center, hurricane winds 150 miles. It will just get bigger as it come up the coast and becomes a nor'easter. The difference in name is also because they become differently structured. A tropical system is typically more compact and uniform. A nor'easter spreads out and develops the frontal structure we are accustomed to here in New England. Hurricane Sandy, or whatever she is when she heads west, will run into a cold front. That cold front is leading a cold air mass that is being forced south by a diving jet stream. That part is all normal this time of year. The temperature difference in the cold air and the tropical air is throwing fuel on this meteorological fire. It is what makes the nor'easter every bit as strong as the hurricane in this case. The result in New England will be a strong tropical storm situation- winds 30-60 mph with higher gusts, rain may be heavy, and significant coastal flooding with heavy surf and big waves. Coastal effects will be most dramatic, but trees and power lines will mean power outages widespread. That all sounds familiar because we just did it last year with Tropical Storm Irene when it hit southern New England. That is the difference- the distance. This nor'easter Sandy will be more powerful and bigger than Irene was, but also twice as far away. I believe the distance will compensate for the strength for us. So, expect similar conditions overall to Irene ON THIS TRACK. If the storm does come farther north, conditions get worse as the distance gets less. ON THIS PATH through southern NJ, this is not the worst storm we have ever seen in New England- the perfect storm of 1991 and the blizzard of '78 will easily trump it, but if the track changes- that changes. You must keep up with the forecast. It is critical

    Storm Effects:
    Many folks have been talking about this storm and the various effects it will have in certain areas.  The one thing to point out on a larger scale is that as Sandy transitions from a tropical cyclone to a post tropical system it will be invigorated by an approaching cold front and powerful Jetstream that will strengthen the nor'easter to bring all sorts of weather across a number of states.  I want to mention specifically the snow component of this storm. As this system pushes inland on the current projected path, there will be the threat of snow as colder air rushes in behind the aforementioned cold front. Some western areas of Pennsylvania, to Ohio, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky could all squeeze out a few inches…if not a foot across the higher elevations! As for our area… we do not have this same chance of snow. Our main threats will be the wind, rain and coastal concerns and I'm going to speak specifically too each one below.

    Although Sunday will be cloudy with a spot shower… the rain bands from Sandy will push in early Monday morning and continue through Tuesday… heavy at times. With the current path…the Mid-Atlantic States will see the higher rainfall totals, but our area can expect anywhere from 1-3" of rain. Enough to create some pounding on the roadways and perhaps lead to isolated basement flooding.  A FLOOD WATCH is posted for central and western parts of the state from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon as totals may be higher across the higher terrain. This may lead to minor urban and small stream flooding. The big rivers should be OK with this event.

    Besides the rain… We'll start to notice the winds picking up late Sunday…but really ramping up on Monday. The National Weather Service has posted a HIGH WIND WATCH for all of interior southern New England from Monday morning through Monday night, when winds will peak. During this time, we can expect northeast winds 25 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph, and perhaps even Hurricane force wind gusts are possible on the Cape and Islands. The strongest winds will occur late Monday. This clearly will impact the region with the threat of widespread power outages. There will also be some tree damage as many of the trees in our area still have leaves hanging on.

     As winds strengthen… the impacts along the coast will increase. There is a COASTAL FLOOD WATCH in effect from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon for the entire coast of MA. Imagine you are in a pool…and you take your arm along the surface of the water to splash a friend… that is what a storm surge is like. As seas off shore will be averaging 20 to 35 FT…  at the surface will push some of that excess water on shore creating a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet. This will lead to moderate coastal flooding in many places. The fact there is a full moon on Monday, tides will already be running astronomically high, so the worst of the flooding will occur during those tide cycles. These times are around midday Monday, late Monday night (close to midnight), and perhaps even midday Tuesday. A lot of the shore roads will likely see flooding with closures and even isolated damage. With the battering of the waves along the coast, beach erosion will also be likely.

    Currently we'll find improvement as early as late Tuesday. Rain showers will lessen and winds will begin to ease up. By Halloween, we'll still be cloudy and breezy, but showers will be spotty. It may not be the nicest night for trick or treating… but it won't be the worst. 


    MEMA has released a list of tips on preparing for the storm:


    • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A radio is an important source of critical weather and emergency information during a storm.
    • If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water. Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
    • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unnecessarily. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
    • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
    • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using a generator. Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as "backfeeding." This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
    • Make sure your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.
    •  In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, computers, stereo, DVR, VCR, microwave oven, cordless telephone, answering machine and garage door opener. (Review the process for manually operating an electric garage door.)
    •  Be extra cautious when you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or move downed lines, and keep children and pets away from them. Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences. Always assume a downed line is a live line. Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.
    • Make sure you have a well-stocked Family Disaster Kit in the event you lose power or are isolated for a number of days.
    • Trim back trees and shrubbery around your home. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage, during a storm.
    • Clear clogged rain gutters. This storm brings the potential for torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
    • Bring in outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and used as a missile.
    • Make sure storage sheds, children's playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
    • Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
    • Make temporary plywood covers to protect windows and sliding doors. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts in each cover and around each window. Note: Taping of windows does not prevent them from breaking.
    • Keep you vehicles fully fueled.
    • Have a certain amount of cash available.  If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
    • Document valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim. Back it up with photographs or video.
    • Protect your insurance policies and other important documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a watertight box. Many people back up important documents online.
    • Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.
    • Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.
    • Boat owners, who plan on taking their vessel out of the water soon, should consider doing so this weekend.

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